“I want to do courses, like coaching licenses,” he said, in an exclusive interview in the Palace matchday programme. “There’s a school in France on how to be a sporting director that I’m interested in. I want to go back to school, now to learn and try to stay involved in the game.
“I’m excited to learn about how to develop a football club’s philosophy from the Academy to the youth teams up to the senior players. It’s something I want to learn and I’m really excited about.
“I hope for the next two years to try and learn, to get my degree, and then hopefully work in a football club.”
Cabaye revealed he had been advised to get back into football as quickly as possible as he mulled over what to do after retirement.
“I spoke with a couple of teammates [who have retired],” he said, “because I like to know about all their experiences.
“Every experience is different and mine will be different from them – it’s a personal decision, because no one can say to you ‘now you have to stop’ or ‘now keep playing’. The decisions come from me and that’s the main thing.
“[But] the good advice for me was just: ‘OK, it’s your decision. Don’t go far away from football. Try to stay inside, try to be involved as you can because when you move away from football for a certain amount of time, it’s hard to get back in there.’”
Having made up his mind about retirement at the end of January, Cabaye gave himself time to plan for the future before announcing his decision publicly.
“It was hard – I knew [I was retiring] from a few weeks ago,” he admitted. “I had a couple of offers in the market in January, but they didn’t work for me…I was ready to think about the future.
“The weird thing was to announce that. It’s different when you know just by yourself and your family; the difference is huge when you say that to [people] all over the world. It was very special, very emotional.
“I can’t say I’m happy because it’s hard to stop football, but I’m OK with this decision and happy with my career and what I’ve done for the last 17 years.”
Despite hanging up his boots, Cabaye is certain to be a respected figure in English football for years to come.
“I really want to learn, and to become the best that I can before I try and do something. Hopefully one day in France or in England to be a sports director would be fantastic for me.
“It could be really exciting.”
Yohan Cabaye spoke exclusively to Palace in-depth about life after retirement, his time at Selhurst Park – including his reaction to that song – and how his father’s career-ending injury spurred him on to reach the very top, along with much more.
You can read that interview in full by ordering the Manchester United matchday programme here.